Shamelessly, a few blogs come to fruition because I want to get answers to questions unknown. Still in the throes of winter, although seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I’ve been cherishing my reds with dinner. I’ve always been fascinated by decanting. Maybe it’s the super cool crystal decanters in odd shapes and sizes, or maybe it’s the effort it takes to pour and wait to drink your wine. Either way, I called up Penny Kinsey at Blind Dog Restaurant and Sushi, known for their amazingly curated wine list, to get some answers.
What is the purpose of decanting?
All wines, white or red, can be decanted, but never Champagne (or wine with bubbles). The purpose of decanting is to expose the surface area of liquid to oxygen, open the flavor and smell and separate the wine from any sediment that can form over time.
Is there a significance to the shape of the decanter?
The long, flat decanters are used to create more surface for oxygenating older wines. A typical decanter is somewhat pear-shaped and is more general purpose. Any other features of a decanter are mostly for artistic value. When looking at a decanter for your home, Kinsey recommends buying high-quality crystal like Riedel. The quality of the crystal will effect the overall taste of the wine.
What are the steps for successful decanting?
Store the bottle of wine you want to decant upright for 24 hours to settle any sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
Make sure your decanter is clean and dry. Avoid using soap to clean your decanter as it may leave residue that would effect the taste of the wine.
Tips from Georg Riedel: After use, rinse the decanter thoroughly with warm water until the water runs clear. Do not use soap. No one has drunk from the decanter and alcohol is a natural disinfectant.
Remove the cork and clean the bottle neck.
Have some sort of light source, a flashlight or to be romantic, a candle. When you are pouring the wine in the decanter, shine the light on the neck of the bottle so you can see when the sediment is just about at the neck of the bottle.
Pour a bit of the wine into the decanter, swirl and discard to prime the decanter.
Slow and steady wins the race. Pour the wine into the decanter being careful to stop before the sediment reaches the neck (hence the light). You will lose 1-2 ounces of wine if there is sediment.
For a younger wine (red or white) you can decant the wine for 1-2 hours. This will open them up and allows the tanins to round out. Be very careful decanting older wines as leaving them open too long will cause them to die and become flat. The peak of maturity for good wines is about 10-15 years. When in doubt, decant.
A few more tips…
If you are going to go to the trouble of decanting a wine, and surely, it’s a good one, invest in proper glasses for the grape variety. Blind Dog serves their wine in Riedel wine glasses, the leader in proper varietal specific glasses offering a heightened sensory experience.
If you are going to go to the trouble of decanting, you better drink it. You can’t store wine in a decanter, and you can’t get it back in the bottle, so enjoy.
Most restaurants that value their wine lists will have the availability to decant wine. Not all wine needs to be decanted and it’s a personal preference. Don’t be shy to ask if they can decant wine for you.
A Bit About Blind Dog
Blind Dog has been a go-to restaurant for our family and friends for close to 20 years. It’s a family-run restaurant with the name playing homage to their black lab Rigger. Not only does it boast some of the best comfort food in Park City, but you won’t find fresher seafood or sushi, and premium steaks, sustainably sourced, creatively crafted and presented in Utah.
A little fun fact: My husband and I met on a blind date at Blind Dog (sushi) in 2003.
Kinsey is known for her creativity in the kitchen, and it spills over to their extensive bar with both innovative wine and cocktail experiences. The wine list features everything from super friendly reds and whites to bottles of Cristal for those special occasions. They sell what they like, if it doesn’t sell, they drink it.
Here’s a little unadvertised special. Every night, Blind Dog features $5 glasses of wine. Kinsey chooses two reds (a cabernet and a Pinot Noir) and two whites (a pinot grigio and chardonnay). You have to ask for it, but the choices are always a pleasant surprise.
1251 Kearns Blvd
Park City UT 84060
Open 7 Days a Week
5 p.m. to close